NC State Is Out: Vanderbilt Advances To CWS Finals Via ‘No Contest’

College World Series
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Saturday at 1:10 a.m. CT, the NCAA issued a statement declaring Saturday’s NC State-Vanderbilt bracket championship game a “no contest” due to COVID-19 protocols. NC State’s season is over, and Vanderbilt will advance to the CWS Finals.

Here’s the full text of the announcement:

NC State is making just the third College World Series appearance in program history, but its quest for the championship will end one win shy of its first-ever trip to the CWS Finals. This is an unprecedented event in the history of college baseball, but we’ve seen other teams eliminated from the NCAA tournament under similar circumstances this year. NC State Baseball joins VCU Men’s Basketball, Notre Dame Men’s Hockey, Michigan Men’s Hockey, and Rice Women’s Volleyball in teams having to drop out of their NCAA Tournaments for COVID protocols this year.

According to multiple sources, two unvaccinated NC State players tested positive for COVID-19 this week, prompting the NCAA to test the entire roster, including vaccinated players. Four positive tests came back from that round of testing, prompting the no-contest ruling. All four of the latest positive tests came from vaccinated individuals who were in the dugout for Friday’s game against Vanderbilt, per multiple sources.

According to the NCAA’s Sport Science Institute guidelines:

Fully vaccinated student-athletes and other Tier 1 individuals with no COVID-19-like symptoms may be exempt from routine testing. Student-athletes and other Tier 1 participants who are not vaccinated must continue to undergo testing at NCAA championships.

If there is evidence of substantial or high transmission in the community, or if there are COVID-19 variants that escape the effect of the vaccine, then testing may need to resume for fully vaccinated individuals. Such decisions will be made in conjunction with local public health authorities and/or federal guidance.

The updated testing guidance also applies to Tier 2 and 3 individuals who may be subject to testing protocols at member schools and championships. If Tier 2 individuals are not fully vaccinated, they must undergo and document a negative PCR test within two days of arrival, or a negative antigen test within one day of arrival, and undergo daily self-health checks. Further testing is based on symptoms. Tier 3 individuals who are not fully vaccinated must undergo daily self-health checks, with testing based on symptoms.

Should state or local authorities require testing of vaccinated individuals, their guidance will supersede this policy and vaccinated individuals will be required to be tested.

The next logical question is this: How does this impact Vanderbilt? If four fully vaccinated individuals who tested positive participated in Friday’s game against Vandy, do the Commodores need to have their entire roster tested as well? Regardless of vaccination status? What about Texas and Mississippi State? Does the NCAA stick with the policy of exempting fully vaccinated players from routine testing, even after four positive tests from the vaccinated NC State contingent?

These are anxious times, and we don’t have all the answers. The one thing we can say for sure is that this is an excruciating, devastating turn of events for NC State.

Earlier Friday, we wrote about what was already a surreal day for NC State, Vanderbilt and the entire college baseball universe. It only got more surreal as the day turned into night.